Medical News Today: What are the health benefits of guava?

Guava is a traditional remedy for a range of health conditions. Research suggests that guava fruits and leaves may have a number of benefits.

Guavas are tropical fruits with yellowish-green skin, and they grow on trees in Central America. The Latin name for the common guava tree is Psidium guajava.

People use guava leaf tea as a treatment for diarrhea in several countries, including India and China. In other countries, such as Mexico, people have traditionally used the flesh of the fruit to heal wounds.

In this article, we explore some potential health benefits and uses of guava. We also describe nutritional information, risks, and how to incorporate guava into the diet.

Type 2 diabetes

Guava fruit with health benefits cut up on chopping board
Guava fruit may help treat a range of conditions, including type 2 diabetes.

Guava leaf tea may help prevent spikes in blood sugar and improve symptoms in people with type 2 diabetes.

A 2010 review of evidence from clinical trials and animal studies suggests that guava leaf tea may help improve insulin resistance and lower blood sugar levels.

These benefits may result from compounds in guava leaf extract helping to moderate glucose absorption after a person eats a meal.

Menstrual cramps

Taking supplements containing guava leaf extract may reduce menstrual cramps.

The results of a study from 2007 suggest that taking guava leaf extract supplements may relieve menstrual pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea.

Participants who took 6 milligrams (mg) of the extract each day experienced less menstrual pain than those taking ibuprofen or a placebo.


Diarrhea

Guava leaf tea is a traditional remedy for diarrhea in many parts of the world.

Evidence from animal studies suggests that the leaf extract may have the potential to treat infectious diarrhea.

A 2015 study investigated the use of this extract in mice with infectious diarrhea. The infection cleared more quickly in the mice who consumed guava leaf extract than in those who did not. The researchers noted that guava leaf extract shows promise as a treatment for this illness.

Another study from 2015 found that guava leaf extract helped control diarrhea in chickens with Escherichia coli infections.

However, scientists need to carry out more research to confirm these findings in humans.


Flu

Person holding mug of herbal tea
Drinking guava leaf tea is an easy way to enjoy the health benefits of the fruit.

Drinking guava leaf tea may help people fight off the flu.

In a 2012 test tube study, guava leaf tea showed promise as an antiviral agent for flu treatment. The researchers found that the tea inhibited the growth of the virus that causes the flu.

The antiviral effect of the tea may result from the leaf’s flavanols, which are a natural antioxidant.

Confirming the effects in humans will require further research.

Blood pressure

Consuming guava leaf extract may help lower high blood pressure.

A 2016 test tube study found that the extract had an antihypertensive effect in rat tissues, which means that it may have the potential to reduce blood pressure.

This effect may be due to the leaf extract’s antioxidant properties. Antioxidants may lower blood pressure by helping to expand blood vessels.

However, scientists need to carry out more studies to determine whether guava leaf extract can reduce high blood pressure in humans.


Osteoarthritis

Some research in animals suggests that guava leaf extract may benefit people with osteoarthritis.

A 2018 study found that consuming the extract protected against cartilage destruction in rats with induced osteoarthritis. However, researchers have yet to confirm this effect in humans.

Cancer

Guava leaf extract may eventually play a role in cancer treatment.

Results of a 2014 test tube, animal, and computer study suggest that compounds in the extract may inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

The researchers believe that the effect may occur because guava leaf compounds act like selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs).

SERMs are a class of drugs that doctors use to treat cancer. They work by preventing cancer cells from multiplying.

However, scientists need to conduct clinical trials in humans to better understand the potential for these compounds to combat cancer.


Nutritional information

Guava being chopped up
Guava contains vitamin A and potassium.

Guava fruit is a nutritious and healthful food that is rich in several important nutrients.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 100 grams (g) of raw guava fruit contain:


Adverse effects and risks

A 2017 review of research into guava did not highlight any notable adverse effects of eating guava fruit, consuming guava leaf tea, or taking guava leaf extract supplements.

However, there is not enough evidence to rule out the possibility. Any remedies or supplements that do not have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval may cause adverse effects.

Anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding should consult a doctor before taking guava leaf extract.

It is not clear whether this extract can interact with medications. Anyone using medicines on an ongoing basis should speak to a doctor before trying a new remedy.

How to eat guava

Some people enjoy sliced guava, either on its own or with yogurt. Others use the fruit in smoothies or add guava leaves to boiled water to create an herbal tea.

Some recipe ideas for guava include:

Using guava supplements

Many health stores sell dietary supplements that contain guava leaf extract. A person usually takes these daily, but it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

It is also advisable to speak to a doctor before taking any new dietary supplement, especially when trying to treat a specific health issue.

Various guava dietary supplements are available to purchase online.


Summary

Guava is a traditional remedy for a number of ailments.

Preliminary research suggests that compounds in guava leaf extract may have a positive effect on a range of illnesses and symptoms, including menstrual cramps, diarrhea, the flu, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

However, scientists need to carry out further studies in humans to confirm and better understand these findings.

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